Surviving an off-airport landing is one of five introductory mountain flying topics discussed by Loren French, with Alpine
Flight Training. His instruction begins with strategy planning to reduce risk and put as many conditions in your favor as possible. Don’t plan your route across terrain where you’d find it hard to survive one night waiting on rescue.
One situation Loren shared was a mountain rescue that took more than a day. The survivors could see the rescue aircraft overhead and made the mistake thinking the rescuers could see them. They turned the Emergency Locator Transmitter off – believing rescue was imminent. With no signal the aircraft left the area. Unfortunately, this occurred several times, as the aircraft would appear the survivors would turn the ELT off which ultimately delayed their recovery until the next day. It became an infamous game of cat and mouse. Let the ELT do its job and rescue personnel will turn it off when they’re on site.
Loren French, with Alpine Flight Training, teaches an introductory mountain flying course aimed at piston-engine pilots navigating below 12,000 feet in VFR conditions. Here’s his guidance on weather minimums for pilots new to mountain flying:
What are Your Mountain Flying Wx Minimums?
Visibility: Minimum 10 miles along your route
Wind Aloft: Maximum 25 knots forecast between 9,000 and 12,000
Cloud bases: 2,000 feet above all ridges and passes along your route
Weather minimums are part of Loren’s guidance to develop a strategy that puts conditions in your favor. If your weather minimums cannot be met look for a suitable alternate route, delay the flight or cancel and rent a car.
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